OGDENSBURG The City Council at a meeting Thursday decided to postpone discussion of a report by its attorney about a city-owned property where residents were allowed to live rent- and tax-free for three years.
It did argue over when to meet and whether to let each council member have a copy of the report. It did not divulge any information about what is in the report.
The council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the report developed by its attorney, Andrew W. Silver.
Im not sure accomplishing your goals tonight is possible, Mr. Silver told the council. You need time to review the report and come to your own conclusions. You dont want to talk about something you havent read.
Mr. Silver recommended, and the council agreed, to keep only one file of the report available for review, rather that giving each councilor a copy.
The report includes a 13-page summary and more than 40 pages of exhibits examining how the family was allowed to live in the house without paying anything while it was rehabilitated with federal funds while they were living there.
My preference is that we have one document that stays in city hall, said Mr. Silver. Council members can review it here.
The report is the culmination of an investigation opened by Mayor William D. Nelson on Aug. 20 about the property at 819 Knox St.
I think we need to bring this matter to a conclusion, Mayor Nelson said.
Not all councilors agreed that having one report was the right plan.
We should be able to read the complete document and make copies of it, said Councilor Nicholas J. Vaugh.
Concerns about making the document available to the public is why Mr. Silver suggested having only one copy available for council.
Mr. Vaugh said he didnt see the need to protect the report.
The majority of these documents are already public, he said.
Mayor Nelson disagreed.
To preserve the integrity of the investigation, we should keep it here, said Mr. Nelson.
At the beginning of the meeting, the council discussed and rejected the idea of talking with the city attorney in closed session to review the document.
Mr. Vaugh argued that there was no reason to enter into executive session.
I would prefer to discuss it in the open, Mr. Vaugh said. I think the report should become a public document.